Horoscopes | Week of September 29-October 5, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If the Mr. or Ms. Nice Guy routine doesn't seem to be working, perhaps you should get a little tougher. The shift toward a planetary focus on your solar 8th, now that your ruler Mars is joining Venus there, signifies that, wherever interpersonal dealings aren't yielding your desired result, it's time to push harder. Obviously, Aries, this intensification in strength or tone could easily topple the delicate balance… and cause any superficial peace to lapse into outright disagreement. But then at least you're being real. So perhaps it's time to raise that touchy subject you've both been skirting for a while now? Here's an answer that's key to what happens next: Only broach it if you're willing to play it all the way out. In other words, don't bring up the tense topic just to make a pointless (that is, purely mean) jab. If you're going to 'go there', be prepared to keep talking and talking (and maybe even quarreling) about it until a catharsis occurs. (You can usually recognize catharses because emotions come to a climax, often with tears and/or yelling, before subsiding into a profound sense of having gotten something off one's chest.) And really, your only other choices are (1) to exist in a sense of denial that prevents genuine intimacy from being (re)established or (2) to put a dramatic end to the entire shebang. If I had a vote, I'd go for the catharsis.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): For a quick status report on any key one-on-one relationships presently weighing on your mind, chew on this elementary consideration: If, at this very moment, a certain you-know-who's presence in your life is helping you to see how wide and expansive your possibilities in this world really are (even though, at the same time, such a realization may be overwhelming or scary), then this person is clearly worth hanging onto for a while longer. With the current Venus-Jupiter connection between your solar 7th and 9th houses, your happiest and healthiest relations will be with folks who open your eyes, push your boundaries, stretch your comfort zone, and/or force you to think bigger. (To reiterate, 'happiest' doesn't necessarily mean 'easiest'.) Please beware, however, if this other person makes you trapped, stuck, dampened, boxed in, shut off or otherwise limited… to the degree that choosing to stick with 'em is akin to choosing not to pursue additional interests or experiences. Someone who cares about your well-being, Taurus, will want to support you in growing and evolving beyond where you are now—even knowing that the 'new you' may be so different, it forces the relationship to grow and evolve, too. Someone who wants you to feel as if they're your only hope, alas, is simply out to hook you into power games (consciously or not).


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The situation I described last week is still in full effect… namely, that tantalizing 'up in the air' quality to a certain interpersonal intrigue, which can't help but give you plenty of stimulating stuff to bide your time thinking about. Only, you're going to have to sneak in a last big chunk of extracurricular leisure activity as early in the week as possible, Gemini, while you've still got the chance. A heaping helping of serious labor is headed your way, demanding that you significantly limit the number of hours dedicated to frivolity over the coming weeks. In other words, as gripping as your contemplations of the pleasure principle may currently be, you're going to have to push 'em aside (at least partially)—or risk drowning in a sea of unfulfilled responsibilities. Spend your week making the transition from 'lounging around' (relatively, if not literally, speaking) to 'rolling your sleeves up' so that, by next week, you're well prepared to work your buns off. And while you're at it, I'd advise you to accept this turning of the tides without complaint. For this upcoming period, you must swallow any resistance… and recognize just how far your efforts can go in a short time, assuming you concentrate on the tasks at hand. If you fight it, you're not going to somehow emerge victorious with a magical exemption from duty. If anything, you'll just accomplish less—and generate a lot of wasted emotional energy in the process. So suck it up, okay? It's only temporary.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): 'Look at me! I'm open… I'm ready… but for what? It doesn't much matter, as long as I'm having a good time and pushing myself unusually far outside my usual shell. Hey, come get me! If love is what you're hanging off your line, I just might bite. What's it all mean? Where's it all going? Too many questions spoil the soup. I'm just here to see what happens when I express my life-force freely and fiercely outward. I know, of course, that I can't expect much to happen unless I take the practical steps, too… like going out to places where I'm likeliest to enjoy myself (and where my 'type' of guy/girl hangs out, if I'm hoping to meet someone). Chance encounters can't happen if I stay inside my house, now, can they? I'm willing to remove the layer of protective covering and expose my delicate innards to the sun's warmth. I'll probably feel vulnerable for the first few moments. But then, the bright hot world will take me in its arms, thankful for my decision to prioritize my own radical sense of pleasure and satisfaction, rewarding me through interpersonal connections with folks who actually appreciate me for me. Such genuine appreciation is only possible, alas, if I show them who I am. So look at me! I'm open, I'm ready, I'm eager to be seen on my own terms… and I have no doubt there will be plenty of people who want a piece of this!'


LEO (July 23-August 22): As your mind continues weighing alternatives, crunching data, and communicating possibilities at quite a fevered pace, you open yourself up to cerebral exhaustion. Or put another way: As long as you allow your unceasing thought processes to run slipshod over the rest of your being, you risk sacrificing your much-needed downtime by becoming a victim of your own overactive brain. Contrary to the post-Enlightenment history of Western intelligentsia, we are not interchangeable with our heads. There's actually much more to us than our always-chattering internal voice might want us to know. And should you shush your inner pontificator long enough to gain a different perspective, you might quickly realize that you desperately need a time-out. In fact, beyond that, you might also discover that some of that mental noise is purely a side-effect of everyone else's manic energies indirectly insisting that you, too, take on this frantic sense of priorities. Shut the front door, however, and you'll soon enjoy the private comforts of your home, beckoning you to snag a brief getaway from all that outside complication. The cherished momentous exhalation of stress begins when you reserve a couple days on the calendar just for you.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): If at first (and second and third) you appear not to succeed, perhaps you should heed the astrological vibes in the air… and not continue trying and trying and trying some more. Sometimes, we get the best results by walking away from an annoying situation, a seemingly unsolvable problem, or a question that keeps producing an answer we don't like. Give it time to breathe (and give yourself time to think about something else), however, and you're liable to return to circumstances far less vexing than they may presently seem. That said, Virgo, please refrain from banging your head against any wall that appears to be moving nowhere fast. Not only are you wasting energy, but you'll probably end up with a killer headache. Whenever possible, give this Mercury retrograde another couple weeks to work itself out—and whatever's currently giving you hell may appear very different in that future light. In the meantime, fill that time which you cleared out (by postponing what just isn't proving fruitful right now) with lots of lively socializing opportunities. Fill your datebook with every mixer, art show, dance club or house party that sounds even remotely interesting. You never what—or who—you might find there. But you can be damned sure it won't be more of the same.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Enough newness for you yet? I'd presume your answer is a slightly (or more-than-slightly) overwhelmed 'affirmative', Libra, considering all the beginnings and recommitments and refreshers you've experienced over these past few weeks. Most of the big initiatory drama has already occurred, however… and now you're due for a little reorganizing, so that your mind can habituate itself to its altered life-environment. You're entering a window of a few weeks during which your best efforts should be directed toward stabilizing the boat. That is, you'll need to put systems in place that will help you maintain this reinvigorated momentum for some time to come. Without this structure, alas, the proliferation of unfamiliar details is liable to keep your legs shaky and your stomach unsettled. Reconsider all the activities and elements that comprise your comprehensive priority list, so you're clear on which items are most important… and make sure you devote the most resources (time, money, energy) to those things. Put an end to wasteful expenditures. Above all else, think about how to reserve what's so enthusing about this current period, in order for it to last you a while longer. After all, this is just the beginning… though you are hitting the final stretch of the first lap. Pace yourself accordingly.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): The alarm clock goes off… but rather than moan and groan, reaching for the snooze button so you might squeeze in another eight minutes of slumber, you pop up out of bed, ready to face a new day. It's been a long sleep, full of dreams both inspiring and terrifying. Thankfully, you awaken refreshed and ready to get down to business. This is the time, Scorpio, to go do it. Now that your traditional ruler Mars has joined Venus on your side of the zodiac wheel, you've officially become 'a force to reckon with'. Over these coming weeks, you'll be at your strongest level of individual power in months. And this week is akin to that first glimpse of morning, during which you rub the sleep out of your eyes, shower off yesterday's soil and gobble down a hearty breakfast, rarin' to leap into the action. You should be shifting out of neutral—and into overdrive—now. If you've been quietly hatching plans to snag a certain hottie, to move up the corporate ladder, to secure a desired gig or coveted honor, or to make some other big move… you've reached the prime moment of pouncing. Even Mercury's retrograde (continuing another couple weeks) could be massaged to your advantage, assuming you 'innocently' (ahem) play on the potential for misunderstandings as a method for establishing trust with an important player (without any manipulation, of course). Ultimately, I can't imagine who would say no to you right now…


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): The host with the most knows how to coast. Okay, Sagittarius, I admit that opening sentence is a bit hokey (if not superficially meaningless), but I felt like rhyming. Is that so wrong? The keyword, of course, is 'coast'… intended to apply in the context of going along with whatever, knowing that a certain slope of destiny is in the process of carrying you to the next set of options and opportunities, making it currently rather futile to pedal or stroke too insistently in a particular direction. The 'host' part addresses the interpersonal requirements of this advice, essentially indicating your need to be especially responsive to others' exaggerated hooplas (even as you may remain unsure about who's who in your life) because, at this point, there's really no reason to fight anyone or anything. A few weeks of biding your time, twiddling your thumbs or playing another few hours of Sudoku, will take the pressure off you to do a certain thing, providing an invitation for clearer thinking to settle into your consciousness, once it's given enough space to decompress. What's the big rush, anyway? All decisions that are presently on the table will be dramatically easier to make, if only you delay these moments of truth another three weeks or so.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): You're reaching the far bounds of what you can accomplish from within your self-enclosed bubble. Sooner rather than later, you'll need to toss your half-conceived ideas and still-in-progress endeavors into the communal pot… to see who else holds the missing link or the magic suggestion that moves everything to the next level. But please don't think of this as a burdensome limitation, Capricorn, despite the fact it runs counter to your idealized vision of pure brilliance emerging fully formed from your forehead, Athena-style, without the need for outside influence or assistance. I'm talking about harnessing the synergistic luck that can only come through joining forces with other folks who share your goals, intentions or attitudes. This may be as simple as asking colleagues to proofread an application essay or proposal, to listen to your pitch with a critical ear, to improve upon the graphic design, or merely to grab some refreshments for the meeting. After all, you can't do everything yourself, can you? And dare you be too concerned with sacrificing any credit or recognition you were hoping to glean, let me put those worries to rest. The more hands you can gather to help out, the easier the work will get done—and, as a result, the bigger a splash you will personally make.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Please remember you're being watched. I'm not talking 'bout Big Brother either, Aquarius… although it would be foolish to assume you've escaped the Aquarian condition without some central authority or mainstream power-monger having gathered a file on you. Beyond that, though, you're suddenly in the midst of becoming a lot more visible than you've been in recent months. Knowing this is the case, then, I'd advise you to put your best face forward… even when the perpetual chaos (getting crazier all the time, ain't it?) threatens to fluster you, in clear public view for all to see. In fact, your ability to handle such stress gracefully will make or break the impression certain 'big guns' are holding of you—whether or not you're able to actually solve anything. Of course, with the movement of Mars from your 9th into your 10th, everybody's also waiting to see if you have the goods to back up the bold claims and valiant beliefs you've spent the last few weeks shouting from the treetops. You're definitely moving into a 'talk is cheap, actions speak loudly' phase. But as you spend your week making this transition, the confidence you engender among those your initiatives will affect—or don't engender, as the case may be—is just as important as what you actually do. It's better to start out slowly but on popular footing than to race out of the starting gate, appearing plenty eager if not a bit reckless.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Bearing last week's thoughts in mind, I'm definitely beginning to sense a 'fed-up-ness' emanating from you, Pisces, as if you're wondering when you might catch a break from the tangled web into which you've found yourself woven. I already suspected you were getting to the end of your rope… and this week only brings you that much closer, if in fact you're feeling ever more aware of the pointlessness in continuing negotiations that haven't budged much in the past few weeks. You are ready to rise above it all, aren't you? You do want to walk away from whatever drama's got you tied up in knots, even considering the semi-conscious undertow that keeps pulling you back (because it's so damn hard for Pisceans to end anything), right? But perhaps there's one other point for me to make, in case it's relevant to why you've chosen to protract this multi-faceted torture. Here goes: Let 'em have the last word. By choosing not to 'fight back', you are not admitting defeat. Rather, why waste your breath on the futile attempt to get 'em to understand where you're coming from? If they haven't gotten it yet, they probably won't. They're already planning a rebuttal before you've even uttered more than a few words. The hoped-for peace that leads you to keep trying won't come from them. It's an internal relief you can only achieve on your own, not through being granted it by somebody else.